Mount Holyoke College
Weissman Center for Leadership

Courage Through Reflection and Story Creation

Silhouette of woman at sunset.

Fall 2015, Spring 2016

This year our theme, “Courage through Reflection and Story Creation,” focuses on the construct of courage, and importantly, why our stories matter.

Courage can be demonstrated through powerful acts that are visible to others, such as standing one’s ground in the face of difficulty and fear. Yet, courage can also be revealed through our own internal, private reflections. When we take a close look at our motivations, and lives we lead, courage helps us to engage honestly. When we turn an internal narrative into an externalized story, the creation process is no longer just about ourselves. Compelling stories worth creating and telling? Courageous.

We showcase Congresswoman Nita Lowey ‘59 as our keynote for the Women Leading in Public Service Summit. Described as “courageous” by The New York Times, Lowey is the first woman to lead either party on the powerful House Appropriations Committee. Few in Congress have led on so many vital public policy issues, or advocate so tenaciously on behalf of women and children in the U.S. and abroad. Congresswoman Lowey signifies that courageous leadership is possible when we believe in ourselves and the causes we embrace.

In her acclaimed one-woman show, Amber Chand weaves together her life story across continents where her redemptive journey encourages us to summon our own courage.

The Leading Woman in the Arts Patrizia von Brandenstein braved the entertainment industry, where women have been traditionally underrepresented, to become the first woman to win an Academy Award for Best Art Direction (Amadeus, 1984).

Kiese Laymon, our Katherine Fitzgerald Lecture, showcases the transformational possibilities of writing through his masterful storytelling, and inspires us to write, remember, and discover.

In her acclaimed one-woman show, Ann Marie Shea highlights Perkins’ private and professional challenges, including her actual words with excerpts from The Roosevelt I Knew, by Frances Perkins.

Our featured workshop, Persuasive Speaking for Women, in collaboration with Smith College, provides a chance to practice one’s speaking with confidence. What is the narrative and why is it worth telling?

Author and journalist, Daisy Hernández, will discuss reporting and writing at the intersection of race, gender and LGBT issues, and how intimate stories shape political narratives.

Come join us this year as we take a collective look at ourselves, the stories we are creating, and why they are worth sharing. We know that women can and do make a powerful difference in the world. Courage is a vital aspect of women’s leadership—to look inward, to reflect, and to articulate a vision—not only for ourselves, but also for others.